Marseille offer better value when two of France's most exciting sides go head-to-head on Sunday night, writes James Eastham...
"A big plus for Nice is Montpellier's uninspiring home record: since the start of the 2017-18 season the Languedoc-Roussillon outfit have won just five of 22 fixtures (W5-D11-L6) in front of their own fans."
Best Bet: Nice Draw No Bet at Montpellier @ 2.56/4
Montpellier v Nice (6th v 11th)
Sat, 19:00 BST
Live on Betfair Live Video
Nice have finally found form under new manager Patrick Vieira and travel to Stade de la Mosson this weekend confident of avoiding defeat.
Under Vieira, Nice won none of their opening three games of the season (W0-D2-L1) but consecutive victories either side of the international break mean The Eagles have finally taken off.
Nice won 1-0 at Lyon and came from behind to clinch a deserved 2-1 victory over Rennes last weekend. They're not playing as fluently as they did during their best days under ex-manager Lucien Favre but the attitude and determination of the players in their recent victories will have heartened Vieira.
Competition for places is also helping. Nice claimed all three points last weekend despite the fact that the talismanic Mario Balotelli was missing. The positive impact on the other players of winning without the Italy international should not be underestimated.
Another big plus for Nice is Montpellier's uninspiring home record. Since the start of the 2017-18 season the Languedoc-Roussillon outfit have won just five of 22 fixtures (W5-D11-L6) in front of their own fans.
Montpellier's 3-4-1-2 formation makes them difficult to beat but often comes up short when they're required to make most of the running against well-organised visitors.
Taking all factors into account it's a surprise Montpellier are clear favourites. The hosts are 2.285/4 to win, with Nice 3.65 and The Draw 3.052/1. Nice Draw No Bet or Nice with a small start on the Asian Handicap are our selections. For an Asian Handicap betting guide, click here.
Lyon v Marseille (7th v 2nd)
Sun, 20:00 BST
Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
Lyon may be stronger than Manchester City but they'll do well to get the better of Marseille in the big showdown on Sunday night.
Bruno Genesio's hosts will still be on a high after their sensational 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night but that's not necessarily a good thing as they prepare to face one of their fiercest rivals for a top-three spot this season.
Lyon can play some wonderfully effective attacking football - as Pep Guardiola's side found out to their cost - but they're also notoriously fragile and sometimes lack the focus, drive and determination to put together a run of results.
They're just as likely to switch off after their win in Manchester as they are to be inspired by it, making Marseille the smarter bet this weekend.
Rudi Garcia's visitors are 3.259/4 outsiders heading into the big game on Sunday night, with Lyon as short as 2.26/5. Those odds make little sense if you look purely at the two sides' domestic form.
Marseille are three points and six places above Lyon in the Ligue 1 standings. Marseille have already claimed one big away win this season - 3-2 at Monaco - and produced a stunning second-half performance against Guingamp last weekend, scoring four times after the interval to run out 4-0 winners.
While Marseille have yet to fully hit their stride this season there's a steeliness about them that contrasts with Lyon's flakiness. Garcia is unrelenting in the demands he makes of his players and will have drummed into them the psychological importance of picking up at least a point from this trip.
Marseille's odds throw up the possibility of backing the visitors on the Draw No Bet market or with a small Asian Handicap start. The visitors will be inspired by the cauldron-like atmosphere expected at the Groupama Stadium and are the smart selection.
James’ 2018-19 P/L
Nice Draw No Bet at Montpellier @ 2.56/4
Marseille +0&+0.5 Asian Handicap at Lyon @ 2.001/1